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Frances McNeil, who writes under the pseudonym Frances Brody, is an English playwright and author of mystery, thriller and historical fiction novels.

Born in Leeds, she attended Ruskin College, Oxford and holds a degree in English Literature and History from York University.

Frances loved writing and storytelling from a very early age, going by the numerous pen pals that she had growing up.

Her mother, Julia, who was quite fond of murder stories, played a pivotal role in inspiring Frances to become a writer.

Frances currently resides in Leeds, England.

More about Frances Brody

Genres: Historical Fiction, Mystery, Thriller

United Kingdom

Pseudonym: Frances Brody

Website: http://frances-brody.com/

Non Series

  • Sisters on Bread Street (2003)
  • Somewhere Behind the Morning (2005)
  • Sixpence in Her Shoe (2006)
  • Sisters of Fortune (2008)
  • Halfpenny Dreams (2016)

Kate Shackleton Series

  1. Dying in the Wool (2009)
  2. A Medal for Murder (2010)
  3. Murder in the Afternoon (2011)
  4. A Woman Unknown (2012)
  5. Murder on a Summer's Day (2013)
  6. Death of an Avid Reader (2014)
  7. A Death in the Dales (2015)
  8. Death at the Seaside (2016)
  9. Death in the Stars (2017)
  10. A Snapshot of Murder (2018)
  11. The Body on the Train (2019)
  12. Murder is in the Air (2020)

Detailed book overview

Non Series

Sisters on Bread Street

The year is 1914 in Leeds.

Sisters Julia and Margaret Wood are struggling to overcome financial difficulties.

With war seemingly on the horizon and the hostility towards foreigners intensifying, their German-Jewish father doesn’t have much luck finding work.

The enterprising Julia however manages to support the family thanks to her idea of selling homemade pies all over Leeds.

Margaret, her older sister and recent member of the suffragette group, however seeks a quicker way out of poverty by counting on Mrs. Turner, the wealthy suffragette, and her son, Thomas, who works for the press.

But as the First World War intensifies, Julia will learn what it truly means to be courageous.

Author: Frances Brody
First Release: 2003
ISBN: 978-0349410708
Publisher: Piatkus Books
Somewhere Behind the Morning

The year is 1914 in Leeds.

Sisters Julia and Margaret Wood are struggling to overcome financial difficulties.

With war seemingly on the horizon and the hostility towards foreigners intensifying, their German-Jewish father doesn’t have much luck finding work.

The enterprising Julia however manages to support the family thanks to her idea of selling homemade pies all over Leeds.

Margaret, her older sister and recent member of the suffragette group, however seeks a quicker way out of poverty by counting on Mrs. Turner, the wealthy suffragette, and her son, Thomas, who works for the press.

But as the First World War intensifies, Julia will learn what it truly means to be courageous.

NB: This book is an expanded version of Sisters on Bread Street.

Author: Frances Brody
First Release: 2005
ISBN: 978-0752868509
Publisher: Orion
Sixpence in Her Shoe

It’s the 1920s in Leeds. Life has now truly begun for Jess.

Raised in the wake of the First World War, she is torn between her subjugated father and her grumpy and determined mother.

After a terrible period of working as a housekeeper to the local priest, Jess starts working at the office of a shoe factory belonging to her uncle, where one Wilf steals her heart.

Wilf however wants to become an accomplished artist, and Jess isn’t ready to stop him from pursuing his dreams.

Furthermore, she also wants to rescue her godchild from an orphanage; a struggle that might very well shatter her heart completely.

Author: Frances Brody
First Release: 2006
ISBN: 978-0349410715
Publisher: Piatkus Books
Sisters of Fortune

It’s the 1930s in Yorkshire.

Sophie and Rosa Moran come from an impoverished background, as their father works as a lowly employee at a local bank.

So when their father is fired from his job, the girls know that their only hope of survival lies in talking to Mr. Thackrey of Thackrey's Bank.

As an enthralling series of events unfolds, nothing will ever be the same again for the Moran and Thackrey families.

Author: Frances Brody
First Release: 2008
ISBN: 978-0727877352
Publisher: Severn House Publishers
Halfpenny Dreams

It’s the 1930s in Yorkshire.

Sophie and Rosa Moran come from an impoverished background, as their father works as a lowly employee at a local bank.

So when their father is fired from his job, the girls know that their only hope of survival lies in talking to Mr. Thackrey of Thackrey's Bank.

As an enthralling series of events unfolds, nothing will ever be the same again for the Moran and Thackrey families.

NB: This book was originally title Sisters of Fortune before being republished in 2016.

Author: Frances Brody
First Release: 2016
ISBN: 978-0349410739
Publisher: Piatkus Books

Kate Shackleton Series

Dying in the Wool

Bridgestead is a serene and picturesque place to be.

Although it’s not the kind of place that one would ever expect anything unusual to take place, all that changes when Joshua Braithwaite, Master of the Mill, mysteriously vanishes under suspicious circumstances.

Did he take off with his secret lover, or was he perhaps the victim of something more sinister?

On the verge of getting married, Joshua's daughter launches one last attempt to find out what truly happened to her father.

Enter amateur detective Kate Shackleton.

Passionate about solving mysteries, she begins her quest to find Joshua, only to uncover deadly secrets that should stay buried.

Author: Frances Brody
First Release: 2009
ISBN: 978-1250013095
Publisher: Minotaur Books
A Medal for Murder

Kate Shackleton embarks on her second case as a professional detective, one that involves unmasking the figure behind theft at a pawn-shop.

Ready to enjoy a relaxing evening at the theatre, things suddenly change when Kate is plunged into a murder investigation after she discovers a lifeless body in the doorway.

For someone who is passionate about solving mysteries, things get more intriguing for Kate when a ransom note surfaces, demanding immediate payment if they are to see the play's leading lady again.

A killer lurks in the streets of Harrogate, and it’s up to Kate to bring them to justice.

Author: Frances Brody
First Release: 2010
ISBN: 978-0749941925
Publisher: Piatkus Books
Murder in the Afternoon

Siblings Harriet and Austin have always been terrified of the quarry where their father works.

So when they come across his lifeless remains lying on the ground, they desperately run away to call for help.

The only problem is that once help arrives, the body of their dead father is nowhere is to be seen.

Could the children have seen their own things? Or did their father mysteriously arise from the dead?

This sounds like the kind of case for detective extraordinaire Kate Shackleton.

Although it sounds like nothing more than a puzzling disappearance, as Kate will soon come to learn, shocking family connections are often the deadliest.

Author: Frances Brody
First Release: 2011
ISBN: 978-1250063328
Publisher: Minotaur Books
A Woman Unknown

Deirdre Fitzpatrick usually disappears on the grounds that she goes to look after her ailing mother. Her husband however isn’t too convinced. Sounds like the kind of work for amateur detective Kate Shackleton.

Banker Everett Runcie is on the verge of destruction. With his wealthy American wife now tired of his unfaithful ways, she is determined to pursue legal separation.

Everything however changes when Runcie's lifeless body is discovered in his hotel room.

Plunged into an investigation far more darker than she could have imagined, will Kate manage to solve what could very well be her most sophisticated case yet?

Author: Frances Brody
First Release: 2012
ISBN: 978-0749954970
Publisher: Piatkus Books
Murder on a Summer's Day

When Maharajah Narayan mysteriously disappears, the India Office enlists the help of amateur sleuth Kate Shackleton.

The missing person’s case however soon turns into a murder case after Narayan's remains are discovered in the woods.

Kate knows from the onset that the body was just dumped there. So where was the victim killed and who dumped his body there? Furthermore, who stole the precious diamond that the Maharajah had?

As Kate seeks to find the answers, she will soon learn that revenge has many faces.

Regardless of the challenges she faces, Kate knows that she won’t rest until the case is closed.

Author: Frances Brody
First Release: 2013
ISBN: 978-1250067517
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Death of an Avid Reader

Lady Coulton, who gave up her child years ago after she was born out of wedlock, enlists the help of amateur detective Kate Shackleton in an effort to find her long-lost daughter.

As she begins her investigation, Kate finds herself with a murder case to solve after the remains of the esteemed Horatio Potter are discovered in the basement of a library in Leeds.

Who would want to kill Dr Potter?

Certain that a faultless person is being accused of the murder, Kate won’t rest until she unmasks the real killer.

Could Lady Coulton's long-lost daughter hold the key to solving the case?

Author: Frances Brody
First Release: 2014
ISBN: 978-0349400570
Publisher: Piatkus Books
A Death in the Dales

Freda Simonson is haunted by guilt after witnessing the brutal killing of a Yorkshire pub owner. Even worse is that an innocent man is paying the price. So when Freda dies, the truth seems to have been buried along with her.

When Kate Shackleton, who is dating Freda's nephew, visits tiny Langcliffe, Harriet, her teenage niece who joined her on the trip, becomes friends with a village girl whose brother mysteriously vanished.

This prompts Kate to begin an investigation that helps her uncover a strange death and a forbidden affair.

As the list of suspects increases, Kate knows that she has to catch a killer before more lives are lost.

Author: Frances Brody
First Release: 2015
ISBN: 978-1250098832
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Death at the Seaside

It’s August, and Kate Shackleton is off for some R&R in Whitby.

But when she arrives there, she is shocked to learn about the mysterious disappearance of Felicity— Alma's daughter.

Left behind is a note to her mother and a watch-guard. To intensify the intrigue, the jeweler who gave Felicity the coins is none other than Jack Phillips—Alma's male friend.

Determined to solve the mystery, Kate begins an investigation that sees her make a staggering discovery.

With local officials proving uncooperative in a bid not to tarnish the town’s reputation, Kate will have to use the help of Jim Sykes and Mrs Sugden if she is to uncover what truly happened to Felicity.

Author: Frances Brody
First Release: 2016
ISBN: 978-0349406589
Publisher: Piatkus Books
Death in the Stars

The year is 1927 in Yorkshire.

Amidst the eclipse talk, amateur detective Kate Shackleton is requested to accompany theatre icon Selina Fellini to an event at the Giggleswick School Chapel.

Despite her doubts, Kate attends, only to learn that the lifeless body of Selina's co-star Billy Moffatt has been discovered after he went missing.

As Kate begins to look into the matter, she finds out that two more individuals have suspiciously lost their lives under the same circumstances.

Enlisting the help of Jim Sykes and Mrs. Sugden, Kate is determined to uncover whether a killer truly is in their midst.

Author: Frances Brody
First Release: 2017
ISBN: 978-0349414317
Publisher: Piatkus Books
A Snapshot of Murder

The year is 1928 in Yorkshire.

Desperately in need of a breather, detective extraordinaire Kate Shackleton is pursuing her love of photography.

So it’s no surprise that when the local Photographic Society presents her with the idea of a trip, she welcomes it with open arms.

The excitement of photography however doesn’t last for long, as Kate finds herself in the middle of a murder investigation after an annoying member of their groups is found dead.

Does a killer walk amongst them? Or did Tobias have people in his life that would want him dead?

Kate Shackleton endeavors to find to the answer.

Author: Frances Brody
First Release: 2018
ISBN: 978-0349414324
Publisher: Piatkus Books
The Body on the Train

1929 in London: a dead body is found on a train from Yorkshire, with no possible way of identifying the victim.

Troubled by the mystery surrounding the case, Scotland Yard enlists the help of amateur detective Kate Shackleton, who is an expert on matters Yorkshire.

1929 in Yorkshire: given the delicate nature of the case, Kate has to keep a low profile while investigating the case. Her search for clues leads her to another killing which has striking similarities to the one that she is working one.

Convinced that the clues could lead to something, Kate begins a search that could end with the loss of her own life.

Author: Frances Brody
First Release: 2019
ISBN: 978-0349423067
Publisher: Piatkus Books
Murder is in the Air

The year is 1930 in North Yorkshire.

After the devastation of the war, taverns attempt to revive themselves by selecting a charming employee as the face of their industry.

Ruth Parnaby, this year’s queen, has invited sleuth Kate Shackleton and her niece Harriet at her celebration party.

The mood however completely changes after a dead body is discovered in the fermentation room.

Although it initially seemed like a case of suffocation in the fermentation chamber, an autopsy reveals that the victim was murdered before being dumped in the chamber.

A killer is trying to cover up their tracks, and it’s now up to Kate Shackleton to stop them.

NB: This book is also known as Death and the Brewery Queen.

Author: Frances Brody
First Release: 2020
ISBN: 978-1643858074
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books